Endocervical Culture

Overview & Description

An endocervical culture is a test designed to detect microorganisms within the endocervix. The endocervix is the upper part of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that extends into the vagina.

Who is a candidate for the test?

An endocervical culture may be ordered for women with the following symptoms:

  • dyspareunia, or pain with intercourse
  • fever
  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • itching or burning of the vagina or vulva
  • low back pain
  • painful urination
  • pelvic pain
  • vaginal bleeding after intercourse or exercise
  • How is the test performed?

    The healthcare provider takes an endocervical smear during a pelvic examination. First, the provider places a speculum within the vagina. This instrument enlarges the opening of the vagina and allows the provider see the cervix and vagina. Then, the healthcare provider places a dry, sterile swab within the small opening of the cervix. The swab may be left in place for several seconds to absorb cells. The swab is sent to a laboratory. It is grown in special media that shows the presence of any abnormal bacteria or viruses.

    Preparation & Expectations

    What is involved in preparation for the test?

    Women should not douche for 24 hours before the test.

    Results and Values

    What do the test results mean?

    An endocervical culture may show any of the following conditions:

  • cervicitis, or an inflammation of the cervix
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • a sexually transmitted disease, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae\ bacteria. The infection is usually acquired through sexual contact.gonorrhea, Chlamydia trachomatis\. Sexually transmitted disease refers to any contagious disease transmitted from one person to another during sexual contact. In women, the infection usually occurs in the urinary tract, pelvis, or cervix. The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the uterus. chlamydia, genital herpes, and human papilloma virus infections
  • Article type: xmedgeneral